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There are currently around 1.7 million electric vehicles (EVs) on U.S. roads and EVs account for around .
The Biden Administration has set a goal for EVs to comprise , which is a significant increase. However, transportation experts believe this is achievable so long as the industry readily addresses its supply chain and infrastructure challenges. A major barrier to accelerating EV adoption is a lack of advancement in battery technology, but many U.S.-based companies have set out to change that.
What Challenges Are Associated with EV Batteries?
Most plug-in hybrids and EVs use lithium-ion batteries, made up 澳门真人娱乐赌博_靠谱:of various chemical components, including lithium, manganese, cobalt, steel, nickel, and copper.
There's a reason that lithium-ion has become the dominant rechargeable battery chemistry for EVs. Lithium has a high energy density that enables smaller battery size; manganese improves driving range and reduces combustibility; cobalt extends battery life; steel provides the optimum balance of strength, mass reduction, performance, cost, and environmental impact; nickel improves corrosion resistance; and copper offers durability and conductivity.
However, five key challenges could prevent the continued use of these batteries — at least in their current state.
1. Supply Chain Shortages
Several of the materials used in EV batteries are in short supply. In May of this year, Stellantis CEO, Carlos Tavares, by 2024-2025 and a lack of raw materials by 2027-2028. Shortages of , , , and copper have been most widely reported.
2. Market Domination in China
At present, China dominates the EV battery market. The country is estimated to have and 59% of its lithium processing capacity.
The 澳门真人娱乐赌博_靠谱:Inflation Reduction Act seeks to reshore EV supply chains and increase U.S. competitiveness by offering tax breaks to automakers who source and process battery parts on home soil.
EV batteries are the most expensive of all road vehicles, ranging from . Battery replacement is a major cost associated with EV ownership and may be a deterrent for consumers considering making the switch to electric.
Ongoing material shortages are only serving to exacerbate this problem. In March 2022, for example, copper prices reached an all-time high of 澳门真人娱乐赌博_靠谱:$10,674 per tonne. A couple of months later, that Lithium prices were up 400%. EV battery cathodes, which require nickel and cobalt, account for around a third of the total cost of a battery cell. The cost of these materials has also skyrocketed in recent months.
4. Charging Speed
EVs have :
- Level 1: 40-50 hours to charge a battery electric vehicle (BEV) from empty.
- Level 2: 4-10 hours to charge a BEV from empty.
- Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC): Can charge a BEV to 80% in 20-60 minutes.
Many consumers are concerned about the lack of easily-accessible charging stations and relatively slow charging times. However, the Biden administration announced that EV charging stations are being built across 75,000 miles of highway in the U.S.
EVs are hailed for being a greener, cleaner mode of transport, generating of the average comparable gasoline car, even with associated battery manufacturing pollution. But EV battery production is not without fault, particularly when it comes to waste.
For example, it’s estimated that the EVs bought in 2019 alone will generate of battery waste.
The Most Exciting Advancements in EV Battery Technology in the U.S.
Below are some of the latest innovations in the EV battery market that promise to tackle these cost and sourcing challenges.
Sodium and Sulfur Batteries
Several battery manufacturers are experimenting with sodium and sulfur, materials that are both cheap and abundant. Celina Mikolajczak, chief battery technical officer at the California-based startup , went so far as to crown
Lyten is currently developing lithium-sulfur cathodes that require less lithium and no nickel or cobalt. Other startups, like U.S.-based , are doing the same. Conamix's website states its team of battery experts are "turning sulfur cathodes from the out of reach holy-grail of lithium-ion cathodes" into a global product.
It’s estimated that sodium-ion batteries could be as much as two-thirds cheaper than their lithium-ion counterparts. , one leading battery cell manufacturer, is using sodium chloride as the main cathode ingredient for its sodium-ion batteries.
Of course, the development of sodium or sulfur batteries comes with its own set of challenges. Currently, sodium-ion batteries do not store sufficient energy, while uncoated sulfur has the power to corrode a battery in as little as 30 charges.
Solid-state batteries use solid ceramic in replacement of the liquid or polymer gel electrolytes found in lithium-ion batteries. These batteries store more energy with fewer materials, charge quickly, and decrease the carbon footprint of an .
In June, , a Colorado-based battery developer, announced it had completed an ," which will have the capacity to make around 15,000 battery cells per year. Automakers BMW and Ford will be the first carmakers to receive Solid Power batteries cells for testing by the end of this year.
Historically, Lithium-air batteries since they require a lot of energy to charge and die after fewer recharges than a traditional lithium-ion battery.
Mohammad Asadi and his team at Illinois Tech, however, have developed a unique combination of internal battery components to overcome these challenges. Asadi’s lithium-air battery technology would increase a car’s driving range five to six times, with the same weight and the same volume. In addition, the battery's cycle life is vastly improved, with the most recent design achieving 1,200 charges and discharges.
Extracting Lithium from Geothermal Power Plants
Geothermal energy production, which is renewable and virtually carbon-free, could solve the ongoing lithium shortage. When geothermal brine is pumped to the surface and converted to gas for electricity generation, it can also yield lithium.
The extraction method is complex, but there are, to assess whether battery-grade lithium can be effectively extracted. If successful, the 11 geothermal plants in this area could produce enough lithium metal to provide about ten times the current U.S. demand.
Establishing new mines, boosting production, and investing in alternate methods of lithium extraction are good options for addressing materials shortages and supply chain challenges. But these are also time-consuming and expensive.
Some businesses are expanding their facilities to accommodate large-scale battery recycling operations as an alternative approach. is opening its first commercial-scale EV battery recycling facility in Georgia, the U.S. Energy Department launched a , and chemicals company plans to open a facility for recycling EV batteries in North America.
It’s predicted that, by 2025, .
Discover More Insights on EV Battery Investments and Innovation
- 澳门真人娱乐赌博_靠谱:How Are EV Batteries Made?
- CHIPS and Science Act to Unlock $52.7 Billion for U.S. Chip Manufacturing
- EV Charging May Get Faster Thanks to This Discovery
- EV Charging Stations Are Headed to 75,000 Miles of Highway Nationwide
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